Products Sugary alcoholic drinks that are flavored to taste like soda or lemonade Marketed to a young audience Girls now equal their male peers in drinking rates Teens Drink a lot of Things so Why Focus on Alcopops? How they are marketed How they taste How they are formulated How an Alcopop Becomes an Alcopop In Europe Start as a liquor or spirit, flavoring and sugar are added and is sold on the market as a spirit Straight forward, no gimicks or loopholes How an Alcopop Becomes and Alcopop in the US Starts as a malt The majority of the malt is removed Flavorings including spirits are added to the drink The end product is primarily spirit-based How did we get from Here… to here? Tax Classification With creative manufacturing, companies were able to convince states to sell alcopops as malts This led to cheap and available products And from here… to here? Alcohol deregulation The percentage of alcohol in malts used to be capped in North Carolina and other states No longer the case, opening the floodgates for higher alcohol alcopops The Timeline The 21st Amendment: Ratified by the states on Dec. 5, 1933 Gave states the authority to regulate alcohol Timeline cont/ In 1996 the Tobacco, Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) issues a ruling stating that “A malt beverage under the Federal Alcohol Administration (FAA) Act may only contain alcohol which is the result of alcoholic fermentation at the brewery.” This meant alcopops would be federally classified as a spirit Timeline cont/ 2003: The TTB issues a further statement clarifying its original position, stating that: “[Alcopops] exhibit little or no traditional beer or malt beverage character. … Brewers … remove the color, bitterness, and taste that are generally associated with beer. … This leaves a base product to which brewers add various flavors, which typically contain distilled spirits, to achieve the desired taste profile.” 2003 cont/ (TTB) issued its long-promised notice of rule change. The release summarized the TTB’s analysis of the products: Of the 114 tested, 105 contained over 76% alcohol derived from distilled alcohol; 95% have less than 25% alcohol volume from fermentation. Timeline cont/ 2005: The TTB seems to ignore its own precedent and establishes the so-called 51/49 standard The 51/49 standard: Up to 49% of alcohol in alcopops can be spirits Post 2005 The TTB itself acknowledged that its 51/49 ruling conflicts with state laws and that the States would have to determine independently whether to adopt the federal standard. According to one research study, conducted in 2005, at least 29 states had classification laws that require alcopops to be classified as distilled spirits. Post 2005 cont/ Attorneys general in at least four states (California, Connecticut, Maine, and Virginia) have concluded that alcopop producers are violating state laws by marketing alcopops as beer. In response, alcopop producers have embarked on an intensive lobbying campaign to convince states to adopt the federal standard. States Across the Country are Tackling the Issue Through legislative or regulatory action states have or are attempting to properly classify alcopops Maine: regulatory change classifies alcopops as low alcohol spirits California: In 2007 the board of Equalization voted to classify alcopops as spirits. Supposed to take effect in October of 2008, but a law suit by the industry has stalled it from happening. States cont/ Utah: adopted legislation in 2008 to classify alcopops as spirits. Nebraska: Law suit went to the state supreme court to force the state to properly classify. The court recently ruled that these beverages do in fact contain spirits and should be classified as such. The majority of States are Not Properly Enforcing the Law In North Carolina NC GS 18b 101 (14) states: "Spirituous liquor" or "liquor" means distilled spirits or ethyl alcohol, including spirits of wine, whiskey, rum, brandy, gin and all other distilled spirits and mixtures of cordials, liqueur, and premixed cocktails, in closed containers for beverage use regardless of their dilution. So What’s the Difference? In North Carolina properly classifying alcopops would: Reduce alcopop outlet density Restrict underage availability by placing the products in a govt. run rather than profit driven marketplace Increase the price of the product: ○ Now: 24 oz can is taxed ~12 cents ○ Proper classification: ~75 cents Our Message Reclassify because it’s the law Alcopops are costly. In 2009 they cost NC: $207 million 10 lives Nearly 8000 incidents of harm In North Carolina spirits belong in ABC stores, plain and simple Moving Forward: Reclassification Campaign Begin a campaign to place public pressure on the ABC Commission to follow existing law and classify alcopops as spirits. Grassroots Advocacy Visit: bit.ly/alcopops Use the resources; train your groups Our goal is 5000 petitions signed by July Send youth and adults to speak to local health and social organizations (PTAs, Lions Clubs, Rotary, health departments, etc.) Get petitions signed by individuals and; Get letters of support A Word on Petitions This is not a legal or binding document. This is not a voter issue. Whoever you come across, young, old or otherwise, can sign your petitions. This is a competition between groups statewide. Who is going to get the most petitions signed? “Town Hall” Meeting Use the online resources to hold a “town hall” meeting on this issue Leverage the federal money you are getting to push for this change and educate your local leaders and community Grassroots Advocacy cont. Write letters to the editor and press releases on the issue Set up meeting with local leaders: town/city council members, county commissioners, school board, etc. Grassroots Advocacy Send letters to the governor and ABC Commission Set up meetings with your state representatives and senators. Ask for their leadership on this critical health issue. Simultaneously We will be working on setting up meetings with key decision makers on the issue and will need all of the petitions and letters of support we can get to make the case. Update us continuously. Use social media to keep the campaign going.